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110th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                     110-671

======================================================================



 
              GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE ACT OF 2008

                                _______
                                

  May 22, 2008.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

  Mr. Waxman, from the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            ADDITIONAL VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 5683]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

      The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to whom 
was referred the bill (H.R. 5683) to make certain reforms with 
respect to the Government Accountability Office, and for other 
purposes, having considered the same, report favorably thereon 
with an amendment and recommend that the bill as amended do 
pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Purpose and Summary..............................................     8
Background and Need for Legislation..............................     8
Legislative History..............................................    10
Section-By-Section...............................................    11
Explanation of Amendments........................................    17
Committee Consideration..........................................    17
Roll Call Votes..................................................    17
Application of Law to the Legislative Branch.....................    17
Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the 
  Committee......................................................    17
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............    17
Constitutional Authority Statement...............................    18
Federal Advisory Committee Act...................................    18
Unfunded Mandates Statement......................................    18
Earmark Identification...........................................    18
Committee Estimate...............................................    18
Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate...    18
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............    20
Additional Views.................................................    31

  The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; REFERENCES; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

  (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Government 
Accountability Office Act of 2008''.
  (b) References.--Except as otherwise expressly provided, whenever in 
this Act an amendment is expressed in terms of an amendment to a 
section or other provision, the reference shall be considered to be 
made to a section or other provision of title 31, United States Code.
  (c) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act is as 
follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; references; table of contents.
Sec. 2. Provisions relating to future annual pay adjustments.
Sec. 3. Pay adjustment relating to certain previous years.
Sec. 4.  Lump-sum payment for certain performance-based compensation.
Sec. 5. Inspector General.
Sec. 6. Administering oaths.
Sec. 7. Comptroller General reports.
Sec. 8. Reimbursement of audit costs.
Sec. 9. Financial disclosure requirements.
Sec. 10. Highest basic pay rate.
Sec. 11. Additional authorities.
Sec. 12. Basic pay for retirement.

SEC. 2. PROVISIONS RELATING TO FUTURE ANNUAL PAY ADJUSTMENTS.

  (a) In General.--Section 732 is amended by adding at the end the 
following:
  ``(j)(1) For purposes of this subsection--
          ``(A) the term `pay increase', as used with respect to an 
        officer or employee in connection with a year, means the total 
        increase in the rate of basic pay (expressed as a percentage) 
        of such officer or employee, taking effect under section 731(b) 
        and subsection (c)(3) in such year;
          ``(B) the term `required minimum percentage', as used with 
        respect to an officer or employee in connection with a year, 
        means the percentage equal to the total increase in rates of 
        basic pay (expressed as a percentage) taking effect under 
        sections 5303 and 5304-5304a of title 5 in such year with 
        respect to General Schedule positions within the pay locality 
        (as defined by section 5302(5) of title 5) in which the 
        position of such officer or employee is located;
          ``(C) the term `covered officer or employee', as used with 
        respect to a pay increase, means any individual--
                  ``(i) who is an officer or employee of the Government 
                Accountability Office, other than an officer or 
                employee described in subparagraph (A), (B), or (C) of 
                section 4(c)(1) of the Government Accountability Office 
                Act of 2008, determined as of the effective date of 
                such pay increase; and
                  ``(ii) whose performance is at least at a 
                satisfactory level, as determined by the Comptroller 
                General under the provisions of subsection (c)(3) for 
                purposes of the adjustment taking effect under such 
                provisions in such year; and
          ``(D) the term `nonpermanent merit pay' means any amount 
        payable under section 731(b) which does not constitute basic 
        pay.
  ``(2)(A) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, if 
(disregarding this subsection) the pay increase that would otherwise 
take effect with respect to a covered officer or employee in a year 
would be less than the required minimum percentage for such officer or 
employee in such year, the Comptroller General shall provide for a 
further increase in the rate of basic pay of such officer or employee.
  ``(B) The further increase under this subsection--
          ``(i) shall be equal to the amount necessary to make up for 
        the shortfall described in subparagraph (A); and
          ``(ii) shall take effect as of the same date as the pay 
        increase otherwise taking effect in such year.
  ``(C) Nothing in this paragraph shall be considered to permit or 
require that a rate of basic pay be increased to an amount inconsistent 
with the limitation set forth in subsection (c)(2).
  ``(D) If (disregarding this subsection) the covered officer or 
employee would also have received any nonpermanent merit pay in such 
year, such nonpermanent merit pay shall be decreased by an amount equal 
to the portion of such officer's or employee's basic pay for such year 
which is attributable to the further increase described in subparagraph 
(A) (as determined by the Comptroller General), but to not less than 
zero.
  ``(3) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the 
effective date of any pay increase (within the meaning of paragraph 
(1)(A)) taking effect with respect to a covered officer or employee in 
any year shall be the same as the effective date of any adjustment 
taking effect under section 5303 of title 5 with respect to statutory 
pay systems (as defined by section 5302(1) of title 5) in such year.''.
  (b) Effective Date.--The amendment made by this section shall apply 
with respect to any pay increase (as defined by such amendment) taking 
effect on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 3. PAY ADJUSTMENT RELATING TO CERTAIN PREVIOUS YEARS.

  (a) Applicability.--This section applies in the case of any 
individual who, as of the date of the enactment of this Act, is an 
officer or employee of the Government Accountability Office, 
excluding--
          (1) an officer or employee described in subparagraph (A), 
        (B), or (C) of section 4(c)(1); and
          (2) an officer or employee who received both a 2.6 percent 
        pay increase in January 2006 and a 2.4 percent pay increase in 
        February 2007.
  (b) Pay Increase Defined.--For purposes of this section, the term 
``pay increase'', as used with respect to an officer or employee in 
connection with a year, means the total increase in the rate of basic 
pay (expressed as a percentage) of such officer or employee, taking 
effect under sections 731(b) and 732(c)(3) of title 31, United States 
Code, in such year.
  (c) Prospective Effect.--Effective with respect to pay for service 
performed in any pay period beginning after the end of the 3-month 
period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act (or such 
earlier date as the Comptroller General may specify), the rate of basic 
pay for each individual to whom this section applies shall be 
determined as if such individual had received both a 2.6 percent pay 
increase for 2006 and a 2.4 percent pay increase for 2007, subject to 
subsection (e).
  (d) Lump-Sum Payment.--Not later than 6 months after the date of the 
enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General shall, subject to the 
availability of appropriations, pay to each individual to whom this 
section applies a lump-sum payment. Subject to subsection (e), such 
lump-sum payment shall be equal to--
          (1) the total amount of basic pay that would have been paid 
        to the individual, for service performed during the period 
        beginning on the effective date of the pay increase for 2006 
        and ending on the day before the effective date of the pay 
        adjustment under subsection (c) (or, if earlier, the date on 
        which the individual retires or otherwise ceases to be employed 
        by the Government Accountability Office), if such individual 
        had received both a 2.6 percent pay increase for 2006 and a 2.4 
        percent pay increase for 2007, minus
          (2) the total amount of basic pay that was in fact paid to 
        the individual for service performed during the period 
        described in paragraph (1).
Eligibility for a lump-sum payment under this subsection shall be 
determined solely on the basis of whether an individual satisfies the 
requirements of subsection (a) (to be considered an individual to whom 
this section applies), and without regard to such individual's 
employment status as of any date following the date of the enactment of 
this Act or any other factor.
  (e) Conditions.--Nothing in subsection (c) or (d) shall be considered 
to permit or require--
          (1) the payment of any rate (or lump-sum amount based on a 
        rate) for any pay period, to the extent that such rate would be 
        (or would have been) inconsistent with the limitation that 
        applies (or that applied) with respect to such pay period under 
        section 732(c)(2) of title 31, United States Code; or
          (2) the payment of any rate or amount based on the pay 
        increase for 2006 or 2007 (as the case may be), if--
                  (A) the performance of the officer or employee 
                involved was not at a satisfactory level, as determined 
                by the Comptroller General under paragraph (3) of 
                section 732(c) of such title 31 for purposes of the 
                adjustment under such paragraph for that year; or
                  (B) the individual involved was not an officer or 
                employee of the Government Accountability Office on the 
                date as of which that increase took effect.
As used in paragraph (2)(A), the term ``satisfactory'' includes a 
rating of ``meets expectations'' (within the meaning of the performance 
appraisal system used for purposes of the adjustment under section 
732(c)(3) of such title 31 for the year involved).
  (f) Retirement.--
          (1) In general.--The lump-sum payment paid under subsection 
        (d) to an officer or employee shall, for purposes of any 
        determination of the average pay (as defined by section 8331 or 
        8401 of title 5, United States Code) which is used to compute 
        an annuity under subchapter III of chapter 83 or chapter 84 of 
        such title--
                  (A) be treated as basic pay (as defined by section 
                8331 or 8401 of such title); and
                  (B) be allocated to the biweekly pay periods covered 
                by subsection (d).
          (2) Contributions.--Notwithstanding section 8334, 8422, 8423, 
        or any other provision of title 5, United States Code, no 
        employee or agency contribution shall be required for purposes 
        of this subsection.
  (g) Exclusive Remedy.-- This section constitutes the exclusive remedy 
that any individuals to whom this section applies (as described in 
subsection (a)) have for any claim that they are owed any monies denied 
to them in the form of a pay increase for 2006 or 2007 under section 
732(c)(3) of title 31, United States Code, or any other law. 
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no court or administrative 
body, including the Government Accountability Office Personnel Appeals 
Board, shall have jurisdiction to entertain any civil action or other 
civil proceeding based on the claim of such individuals that they were 
due money in the form of a pay increase for 2006 or 2007 pursuant to 
such section 732(c)(3) or any other law.

SEC. 4. LUMP-SUM PAYMENT FOR CERTAIN PERFORMANCE-BASED COMPENSATION.

  (a) In General.--Not later than 6 months after the date of the 
enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General shall, subject to the 
availability of appropriations, pay to each qualified individual a 
lump-sum payment equal to the amount of performance-based compensation 
such individual was denied for 2006, as determined under subsection 
(b).
  (b) Amount.--The amount payable to a qualified individual under this 
section shall be equal to--
          (1) the total amount of performance-based compensation such 
        individual would have earned for 2006 (determined by applying 
        the Government Accountability Office's performance-based 
        compensation system under GAO Orders 2540.3 and 2540.4, as in 
        effect in 2006) if such individual had not had a salary equal 
        to or greater than the maximum for such individual's band (as 
        further described in subsection (c)(2)), less
          (2) the total amount of performance-based compensation such 
        individual was in fact granted, in January 2006, for that year.
  (c) Qualified Individual.--For purposes of this section, the term 
``qualified individual'' means an individual who--
          (1) as of the date of the enactment of this Act, is an 
        officer or employee of the Government Accountability Office, 
        excluding--
                  (A) an individual holding a position subject to 
                section 732a or 733 of title 31, United States Code 
                (disregarding section 732a(b) and 733(c) of such 
                title);
                  (B) a Federal Wage System employee; and
                  (C) an individual participating in a development 
                program under which such individual receives 
                performance appraisals, and is eligible to receive 
                permanent merit pay increases, more than once a year; 
                and
          (2) as of January 22, 2006, was a Band I staff member with a 
        salary above the Band I cap, a Band IIA staff member with a 
        salary above the Band IIA cap, or an administrative 
        professional or support staff member with a salary above the 
        cap for that individual's pay band (determined in accordance 
        with the orders cited in subsection (b)(1)).
  (d) Exclusive Remedy.--This section constitutes the exclusive remedy 
that any officers and employees (as described in subsection (c)) have 
for any claim that they are owed any monies denied to them in the form 
of merit pay for 2006 under section 731(b) of title 31, United States 
Code, or any other law. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no 
court or administrative body in the United States, including the 
Government Accountability Office Personnel Appeals Board, shall have 
jurisdiction to entertain any civil action or other civil proceeding 
based on the claim of such officers or employees that they were due 
money in the form of merit pay for 2006 pursuant to such section 731(b) 
or any other law.
  (e) Definitions.--For purposes of this section--
          (1) the term ``performance-based compensation'' has the 
        meaning given such term under the Government Accountability 
        Office's performance-based compensation system under GAO Orders 
        2540.3 and 2540.4, as in effect in 2006; and
          (2) the term ``permanent merit pay increase'' means an 
        increase under section 731(b) of title 31, United States Code, 
        in a rate of basic pay.

SEC. 5. INSPECTOR GENERAL.

  (a) In General.--Subchapter I of chapter 7 is amended by adding at 
the end the following:

``Sec. 705. Inspector General for the Government Accountability Office

  ``(a) Establishment of Office.--There is established an Office of the 
Inspector General in the Government Accountability Office, to--
          ``(1) conduct and supervise audits consistent with generally 
        accepted government auditing standards and investigations 
        relating to the Government Accountability Office;
          ``(2) provide leadership and coordination and recommend 
        policies, to promote economy, efficiency, and effectiveness in 
        the Government Accountability Office; and
          ``(3) keep the Comptroller General and Congress fully and 
        currently informed concerning fraud and other serious problems, 
        abuses, and deficiencies relating to the administration of 
        programs and operations of the Government Accountability 
        Office.
  ``(b) Appointment, Supervision, and Removal.--
          ``(1) The Office of the Inspector General shall be headed by 
        an Inspector General, who shall be appointed by the Comptroller 
        General without regard to political affiliation and solely on 
        the basis of integrity and demonstrated ability in accounting, 
        auditing, financial analysis, law, management analysis, public 
        administration, or investigations. The Inspector General shall 
        report to, and be under the general supervision of, the 
        Comptroller General.
          ``(2) The Inspector General may be removed from office by the 
        Comptroller General. The Comptroller General shall, promptly 
        upon such removal, communicate in writing the reasons for any 
        such removal to each House of Congress.
  ``(c) Authority of Inspector General.--In addition to the authority 
otherwise provided by this section, the Inspector General, in carrying 
out the provisions of this section, may--
          ``(1) have access to all records, reports, audits, reviews, 
        documents, papers, recommendations, or other material that 
        relate to programs and operations of the Government 
        Accountability Office;
          ``(2) make such investigations and reports relating to the 
        administration of the programs and operations of the Government 
        Accountability Office as are, in the judgment of the Inspector 
        General, necessary or desirable;
          ``(3) request such documents and information as may be 
        necessary for carrying out the duties and responsibilities 
        provided by this section from any Federal agency;
          ``(4) in the performance of the functions assigned by this 
        section, obtain all information, documents, reports, answers, 
        records, accounts, papers, and other data and documentary 
        evidence from a person not in the United States Government or 
        from a Federal agency, to the same extent and in the same 
        manner as the Comptroller General under the authority and 
        procedures available to the Comptroller General in section 716 
        of this title;
          ``(5) administer to or take from any person an oath, 
        affirmation, or affidavit, whenever necessary in the 
        performance of the functions assigned by this section, which 
        oath, affirmation, or affidavit when administered or taken by 
        or before an employee of the Office of Inspector General 
        designated by the Inspector General shall have the same force 
        and effect as if administered or taken by or before an officer 
        having a seal;
          ``(6) have direct and prompt access to the Comptroller 
        General when necessary for any purpose pertaining to the 
        performance of functions and responsibilities under this 
        section;
          ``(7) report expeditiously to the Attorney General whenever 
        the Inspector General has reasonable grounds to believe there 
        has been a violation of Federal criminal law; and
          ``(8) provide copies of all reports to the Audit Advisory 
        Committee of the Government Accountability Office and provide 
        such additional information in connection with such reports as 
        is requested by the Committee.
  ``(d) Complaints by Employees.--
          ``(1) The Inspector General--
                  ``(A) subject to subparagraph (B), may receive, 
                review, and investigate, as the Inspector General 
                considers appropriate, complaints or information from 
                an employee of the Government Accountability Office 
                concerning the possible existence of an activity 
                constituting a violation of any law, rule, or 
                regulation, mismanagement, or a gross waste of funds; 
                and
                  ``(B) shall refer complaints or information 
                concerning violations of personnel law, rules, or 
                regulations to established investigative and 
                adjudicative entities of the Government Accountability 
                Office.
          ``(2) The Inspector General shall not, after receipt of a 
        complaint or information from an employee, disclose the 
        identity of the employee without the consent of the employee, 
        unless the Inspector General determines such disclosure is 
        unavoidable during the course of the investigation.
          ``(3) Any employee who has authority to take, direct others 
        to take, recommend, or approve any personnel action, shall not, 
        with respect to such authority, take or threaten to take any 
        action against any employee as a reprisal for making a 
        complaint or disclosing information to the Inspector General, 
        unless the complaint was made or the information disclosed with 
        the knowledge that it was false or with willful disregard for 
        its truth or falsity.
  ``(e) Semiannual Reports.--(1) The Inspector General shall submit 
semiannual reports summarizing the activities of the Office of the 
Inspector General to the Comptroller General. Such reports shall 
include, but need not be limited to--
          ``(A) a summary of each significant report made during the 
        reporting period, including a description of significant 
        problems, abuses, and deficiencies disclosed by such report;
          ``(B) a description of the recommendations for corrective 
        action made with respect to significant problems, abuses, or 
        deficiencies described pursuant to subparagraph (A);
          ``(C) a summary of the progress made in implementing such 
        corrective action described pursuant to subparagraph (B); and
          ``(D) information concerning any disagreement the Comptroller 
        General has with a recommendation of the Inspector General.
  ``(2) The Comptroller General shall transmit the semiannual reports 
of the Inspector General, together with any comments the Comptroller 
General considers appropriate, to Congress within 30 days after receipt 
of such reports.
  ``(f) Independence in Carrying Out Duties and Responsibilities.--The 
Comptroller General may not prevent or prohibit the Inspector General 
from carrying out any of the duties or responsibilities of the 
Inspector General under this section.
  ``(g) Authority for Staff.--
          ``(1) In general.--The Inspector General shall select, 
        appoint, and employ such personnel as may be necessary to carry 
        out this section consistent with the provisions of this title 
        governing selections, appointments, and employment in the 
        Government Accountability Office. Such personnel shall be 
        appointed, promoted, and assigned only on the basis of merit 
        and fitness, but without regard to those provisions of title 5 
        governing appointments and other personnel actions in the 
        competitive service, except that no personnel of the Office may 
        be paid at an annual rate greater than $1,000 less than the 
        annual rate of pay of the Inspector General.
          ``(2) Experts and consultants.--The Inspector General may 
        procure temporary and intermittent services under section 3109 
        of title 5 at rates not to exceed the daily equivalent of the 
        annual rate of basic pay for level V of the Executive Schedule 
        under section 5315 of such title.
          ``(3) Independence in appointing staff.--No individual may 
        carry out any of the duties or responsibilities of the Office 
        of the Inspector General unless the individual is appointed by 
        the Inspector General, or provides services obtained by the 
        Inspector General, pursuant to this paragraph.
          ``(4) Limitation on program responsibilities.--The Inspector 
        General and any individual carrying out any of the duties or 
        responsibilities of the Office of the Inspector General are 
        prohibited from performing any program responsibilities.
  ``(h) Office Space.--The Comptroller General shall provide the Office 
of the Inspector General--
          ``(1) appropriate and adequate office space;
          ``(2) such equipment, office supplies, and communications 
        facilities and services as may be necessary for the operation 
        of the Office of the Inspector General; and
          ``(3) necessary maintenance services for such office space, 
        equipment, office supplies, and communications facilities; and
          ``(4) equipment and facilities located in such office space.
  ``(i) Definition.--As used in this section, the term `Federal agency' 
means a department, agency, instrumentality, or unit thereof, of the 
Federal Government.''.
  (b) Incumbent.--The individual who serves in the position of 
Inspector General of the Government Accountability Office on the date 
of the enactment of this Act shall continue to serve in such position 
subject to removal in accordance with the amendments made by this 
section.
  (c) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections for chapter 7 is 
amended by inserting after the item relating to section 704 the 
following:

``705. Inspector General for the Government Accountability Office.''.

SEC. 6. ADMINISTERING OATHS.

   Section 711 is amended by striking paragraph (4) and inserting the 
following:.
          ``(4) administer oaths to witnesses, except that, in matters 
        other than auditing and settling accounts, the authority of an 
        officer or employee to administer oaths to witnesses pursuant 
        to a delegation under paragraph (2) shall not be available 
        without the prior express approval of the Comptroller General 
        (or a designee).''.

SEC. 7. COMPTROLLER GENERAL REPORTS.

   Section 719 is amended--
          (1) in subsection (b)(1)(B), by striking ``and'' at the end;
          (2) in subsection (b)(1)(C), by striking the period at the 
        end and inserting ``; and'';
          (3) by adding at the end of subsection (b)(1) the following:
          ``(D) for agencies subject to sections 901-903 and other 
        agencies designated by the Comptroller General, an assessment 
        of their overall degree of cooperation in making personnel 
        available for interview, providing written answers to 
        questions, submitting to an oath authorized by the Comptroller 
        General under section 711, granting access to records, 
        providing timely comments to draft reports, adopting 
        recommendations in reports and responding to such other matters 
        as the Comptroller General deems appropriate in carrying out 
        his duties under authority of sections 711-720 or any other 
        provisions of law.'';
          (4) in subsection (c)(2)(B), by striking ``and'' at the end;
          (5) in subsection (c)(3), by striking the period at the end 
        and inserting ``; and'', and
          (6) by adding at the end of subsection (c) the following:
          ``(4) as soon as practicable when an agency does not, within 
        a reasonable time of a request by the Comptroller General, make 
        personnel available for interview, provide written answers to 
        questions, grant access to records, or submit to an oath 
        authorized by the Comptroller General under sections 711-720 or 
        any other provisions of law.''.

SEC. 8. REIMBURSEMENT OF AUDIT COSTS.

  (a) In General.--Section 3521 is amended by adding at the end the 
following:
  ``(i)(1) Any executive agency or component thereof that prepares an 
audited financial statement under section 3515 shall reimburse the 
Government Accountability Office the cost of any audit of the financial 
statements (or any part thereof) and related schedules of such agency 
or component performed by the Comptroller General.
  ``(2) Reimbursements required by paragraph (1) shall be credited to 
the appropriation account `Salaries and Expenses, Government 
Accountability Office' current when the reimbursement is received and 
shall remain available until expended.''.
  (b) Conforming Amendment.--Section 1401 of title I of Public Law 108-
83 (31 U.S.C. 3523 note) is repealed.
  (c) Effective Date.--This section and the amendments made by this 
section shall take effect on October 1, 2009.

SEC. 9. FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS.

   Section 109(13)(B) of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 (5 U.S.C. 
App.) is amended--
          (1) in clause (i), by inserting ``(except any officer or 
        employee of the Government Accountability Office)'' after 
        ``legislative branch'', and by striking ``and'' at the end;
          (2) by redesignating clause (ii) as clause (iii); and
          (3) by inserting after clause (i) the following:
                  ``(ii) each officer or employee of the Government 
                Accountability Office who, for at least 60 consecutive 
                days, occupies a position for which the rate of basic 
                pay, minus the amount of locality pay that would have 
                been authorized under section 5304 of title 5, United 
                States Code (had the officer or employee been paid 
                under the General Schedule) for the locality within 
                which the position of such officer or employee is 
                located (as determined by the Comptroller General), is 
                equal to or greater than 120 percent of the minimum 
                rate of basic pay payable for GS-15 of the General 
                Schedule; and''.

SEC. 10. HIGHEST BASIC PAY RATE.

  Section 732(c)(2) is amended by striking ``highest basic rate for GS-
15;'' and inserting ``rate for level III of the Executive Level, except 
that the total amount of cash compensation in any year shall be subject 
to the limitations provided under section 5307(a)(1) of title 5;''.

SEC. 11. ADDITIONAL AUTHORITIES.

  (a) In General.--(1) Section 731 is amended--
                  (A) by repealing subsection (d);
                  (B) in subsection (e)--
                          (i) in the matter before paragraph (1), by 
                        striking ``maximum daily rate for GS-18 under 
                        section 5332 of such title'' and inserting 
                        ``daily rate for level IV of the Executive 
                        Schedule''; and
                          (ii) by striking ``more than--'' and all that 
                        follows and inserting the following: ``more 
                        than 20 experts and consultants may be procured 
                        for terms of not more than 3 years, but which 
                        shall be renewable.''; and
                  (C) by adding at the end the following:
  ``(j) Funds appropriated to the Government Accountability Office for 
salaries and expenses are available for meals and other related 
reasonable expenses incurred in connection with recruitment.''.
  (2) Conforming Amendments.--(A) Section 732a(b) is amended by 
striking ``section 731(d), (e)(1), or (e)(2)'' and inserting 
``paragraph (1) or (2) of section 731(e)''.
  (B) Section 733(c) is amended by striking ``(d),''.
  (C) Section 735(a) is amended by striking ``731(c)-(e),'' and 
inserting ``731(c) and (e),''.
  (b) Access to Certain Information.--
          (1) In general.--Subchapter II of chapter 7 is amended by 
        adding at the end the following:

``Sec. 721. Access to certain information

  ``(a) No provision of the Social Security Act shall be construed to 
limit, amend, or supersede the authority of the Comptroller General to 
obtain any information, to inspect any record, or to interview any 
officer, employee, or contractor under section 716 of this title, 
including with respect to any information disclosed to or obtained by 
the Secretary of Health and Human Services under part C or D of title 
XVIII of the Social Security Act.
  ``(b) No provision of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act shall 
be construed to limit, amend, or supersede the authority of the 
Comptroller General to obtain any information, to inspect any record, 
or to interview any officer, employee, or contractor under section 716 
of this title, including with respect to any information concerning any 
method or process which as a trade secret is entitled to protection.''.
          (2) Interviews.--Section 716(a) is amended in the second 
        sentence by inserting ``and interview agency officers and 
        employees'' after ``agency record''.
          (3) Clerical amendment.--The analysis for chapter 7 is 
        amended by inserting after the item relating to section 720 the 
        following:

``721. Access to certain information.''.

SEC. 12. BASIC PAY FOR RETIREMENT.

  Section 8331(3) of title 5, United States Code, is amended--
          (1) in subparagraph (G), by striking ``and'' at the end;
          (2) in subparagraph (H), by inserting ``and'' at the end;
          (3) by inserting after subparagraph (H) the following:
          ``(I) the nonpermanent amount of a performance-based pay 
        increase received by an employee of the Government 
        Accountability Office, to the extent that such increase does 
        not cause the basic pay of such employee to exceed the 
        limitation specified in section 732(c)(2) of title 31;''; and
          (4) in the matter following subparagraph (I) (as added by 
        this section), by striking ``(B) through (H)'' and inserting 
        ``(B) through (I)''.

                          Purpose and Summary

    H.R. 5683, the Government Accountability Office Act of 2008 
(the Act), was introduced by Subcommittee Chairman Danny K. 
Davis on April 2, 2008. H.R. 5683 addresses a number of issues 
related to pay and personnel matters, access to information, 
and internal operations at the Government Accountability Office 
(GAO).

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    Over a two-year period, the House Committee on Oversight 
and Government Reform's Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, 
Postal Service, and the District of Columbia, held several 
hearings and staff meetings regarding GAO's implementation of 
the Government Accounting Office Human Capital Reform Act of 
2004 (P.L. 108-271) (hereafter ``GAO Reform Act of 2004'') and 
was disturbed by its findings.
    At the time the GAO Reform Act of 2004 was being considered 
by Congress, members expressed concern about whether employees 
who ``met or exceeded expectations'' would get the annual 
across-the-board cost of living adjustment. An agreement was 
reached that instead of codifying such a provision in the Act, 
the Comptroller General would commit to doing so on the record. 
At a July 16, 2003, hearing on GAO's human capital proposal 
before the House Subcommittee on Civil Service and Agency 
Organization, the CG, David Walker, committed to guarantee 
annual across-the-board purchase power protection and to 
address locality pay consideration to all employees rated as 
performing at a satisfactory level or above (i.e., meeting 
expectations or above) absent extraordinary economic 
circumstances or severe budgetary constraints.\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\House Committee on Government Reform, Subcommittee on Civil 
Service and Agency Organization, GAO Human Capital Reform: Leading the 
Way, 108th Cong. (July 16, 2003).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Under the auspices of the GAO Reform Act of 2004, and 
contrary to congressional intent, the CG, in 2006 and 2007, 
denied certain employees whose job performance at least ``met 
expectations'' the annual GAO across-the-board increase. In 
addition, certain GAO employees did not receive all of the 
merit pay that they earned in 2006.
    In testimony before the House and Senate Subcommittees on 
the Federal Workforce, the CG stated that the new pay rates for 
2006 were based on a 2004 market-based compensation study 
conducted by Watson Wyatt Worldwide (WWW).\2\ Based on the 
study, the CG determined that certain employees were paid above 
market rate and should be denied their annual across-the-board 
pay increase.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\House Committee Oversight and Government Reform, Subcommittee on 
Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and the District of Columbia, Joint 
with Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, 
Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal 
Workforce, and the District of Columbia, Hearing on the Government 
Accountability Office's Personnel Reform Efforts, 110th Cong. (May 22, 
2007).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    However, at the joint hearing, Chairman Davis revealed 
findings from a Subcommittee investigation that the outcome of 
the study was predetermined by the contract between GAO and 
WWW.\3\ GAO stated in its contract with WWW that the contractor 
was to provide an analysis of compensation ranges based on an 
assumption that GAO had four pay bands of analysts, when GAO in 
fact had three bands (Band I, Band II, and Band III). 
Subsequent to the WWW analysis, GAO restructured Band II to 
form Band IIA (engagement staffers) and Band IIB (engagement 
leaders). Tenured employees who were not placed in Band IIB 
were deemed ``overpaid'' and denied the GAO across the board 
increase. Upon reviewing the job surveys that were used for the 
WWW compensation study, independent expert witnesses testified 
that the study was flawed and should not have been used to make 
pay decisions.\4\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\Developing Market-Based Compensation Ranges for GAO Analysts, 
Attorneys, and Selected Specialists, Contract No. 2004335 between the 
Government Accountability Office and Watson Wyatt Worldwide (awarded 
July 15, 2004).
    \4\House Committee Oversight and Government Reform, Subcommittee on 
Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and the District of Columbia, Joint 
with Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, 
Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal 
Workforce, and the District of Columbia, Testimony of Dr. Charles Fay, 
Chair, Human Resources Management, Rutgers University, Hearing on the 
Government Accountability Office's Personnel Reform Efforts, 110th 
Cong. (May 22, 2007).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hearings, interviews, and a GAO employee survey requested 
by Subcommittee Chairman Davis also found that, historically, 
African-Americans employed by GAO had long received lower 
performance ratings than their white counterparts. Because the 
Band II restructuring was in part based on questionable 
distinctions in Band II, it had a more negative impact on 
African-American employees. At a Subcommittee hearing on 
November 13, 2007, on diversity in legislative branch agencies, 
the managing director of GAO's Office of Opportunity and 
Inclusiveness testified that the CG was aware of the rating 
disparities between African Americans and their non-minority 
counterparts, but nevertheless executed the restructuring.\5\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \5\House Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and District of 
Columbia Subcommittee Hearing, Testimony of Ron Stroman, Managing 
Director, Office of Opportunity and Inclusiveness, Government 
Accountability Office, Hearing Legislative Branch Diversity at the 
Highest Levels, 110th Cong. (Nov. 13, 2007).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In addition to the lack of across-the-board increases, 
certain GAO employees did not receive all of the merit pay that 
they earned in 2006. The retroactive 2006 and 2007 cost of 
living salary increase and the lump sum payment provisions in 
the bill address those situations.
    In reviewing the implementation of the GAO Reform Act of 
2004, the Subcommittee also was concerned that the 
flexibilities provided in that legislation meant that GAO 
employees werereceiving an across-the-board annual adjustment 
that was lower than the cost-of-living adjustment paid to employees 
covered by the federal GS system.
    To address these issues, the legislation supplements GAO's 
pay-for-performance pay system with a ``floor guarantee'' for 
employees, ensuring that, as long as they perform 
satisfactorily, they will receive an annual pay increase at 
least as great as that paid under the General Schedule (GS) 
system. In addition, the bill provides for salary increases and 
lump sum payments to GAO employees who were denied cost of 
living increases in 2006 and 2007.
    The ``floor guarantee'' provision will ensure that in the 
future GAO employees who are performing at a satisfactory level 
will receive at least as much as the annual adjustment under 
the GS system. However, the bill maintains some of GAO's 
flexibility to set an annual across-the-board increase.
    Moreover, the legislation raises the statutory pay cap for 
GAO employees from GS-15 to Executive Level III for certain 
employees and counts performance-based bonuses for purposes of 
calculating employees' high three years of salary for 
retirement purposes. These provisions will help GAO with 
recruitment and retention.
    In addition, the bill establishes a statutory inspector 
general at GAO, which is consistent with the practices of other 
legislative and executive branch agencies and ensures oversight 
that is independent and autonomous from the CG.
    The bill also includes important provisions that will 
enhance the ability of GAO to perform its oversight functions.

                          Legislative History

    On April 2, 2008, Subcommittee Chairman Danny K. Davis 
introduced H.R. 5683 and referred the bill to the Committee on 
Oversight and Government Reform.
    The Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce, Postal Service, 
and the District of Columbia held a hearing on March 13, 2008, 
on legislation to improve the oversight, administration, and 
pay adjustment functions of GAO. The witnesses were the 
Honorable Gene Dodaro, Acting Comptroller General, GAO; Paul 
Coran, Chairman, Personnel Appeals Board, GAO; Anne Wagner, 
General Counsel, Personnel Appeals Board, GAO; Curtis Copeland, 
Specialist in American National Government, Congressional 
Research Service; Shirley Jones, Representative, GAO's Employee 
Advisory Committee; Janet C. Smith, President, Ivy Planning 
Group, LLC; and Jacqueline Harpp, International Federation of 
Professional & Technical Engineers, AFL-CIO.
    The Subcommittee held a business meeting to consider H.R. 
5683 on April 3, 2008, and ordered the bill to be reported by 
voice vote. The full committee held a business meeting to 
consider H.R. 5683 on May 1, 2008, and ordered the bill to be 
reported, as amended, by voice vote.

                           Section-by-Section


Section 1: Short title

    The short title of the bill is the ``Government 
Accountability Office Act of 2008.''

Section 2: Provisions relating to future annual pay adjustments

    Under this section, all GAO employees will be subject to a 
``floor guarantee'' that will preserve GAO's pay flexibility 
and ensure that GAO's employees receive an annual increase in 
their permanent pay that is at least equal to the GS across-
the-board increase for each locality. GAO is to make the annual 
adjustment, including the floor guarantee, effective as of the 
effective date of the GS adjustment.
    Under the floor guarantee, all GAO employees (except for 
the three groups identified below) whose pay is adjusted under 
31 U.S.C. Sec. 732(c)(3) and who are performing at a ``meets 
expectations'' level or better will be guaranteed a permanent 
pay adjustment that will be at least equal to the annual 
adjustment for GS employees for the locality pay area for the 
GAO employees' duty station. The three groups of employees not 
covered by the floor guarantee are members of the Senior 
Executive Service, Federal Wage System employees, and employees 
who are in GAO's entry-level developmental programs. Under 
these entry-level developmental programs, participants receive 
performance reviews and associated permanent pay raises more 
than once a year and the pay increases are generally 
substantially greater than what the floor guarantee would 
provide.

Section 3: Pay Adjustment relating to certain previous years

    Section 3 requires GAO to pay those employees who did not 
receive a permanent base pay increase in 2006 or 2007 an amount 
equal to the full annual adjustment for those years. This pay 
increase would also be applied prospectively, so that the 
affected employee's permanent pay is adjusted for future years.
    To calculate the increase for each year, the amount of a 
permanent increase in base pay that the employee actually 
received in 2006 (including permanent merit pay as well as any 
annual adjustment) will be compared to the permanent increase 
in base pay that the employee would have received if he or she 
had received a 2.6% base pay adjustment in 2006. The employee 
will be paid the difference between these two figures for the 
2006 cycle. The same calculation will be made for 2007, using 
2.4% instead of 2.6% with both calculations subject to the 
statutory maximum rate. The employee's pay will be increased 
prospectively to reflect these increases.
    In addition, those GAO employees who will receive an 
increase in their base pay under this section will also receive 
a lump sum payment. For each employee, the lump sum payment 
will compensate for the additional pay that the employee would 
have earned had the differences calculated above (and 
compounded for 2007 and 2008) been paid to the employee from 
the effective dates of the 2006 and 2007 adjustments through 
the effective date of the permanent pay increase addressed 
above. Thus, the lump sum payment for an employee who did not 
receive thefull 2006 annual adjustment will be the additional 
amount that the employee would have received, had the difference for 
that year been paid for the period beginning January 22, 2006, until 
the effective date of the permanent pay increase under this section, or 
such earlier date if the employee has retired or otherwise left GAO 
before the payment but after the enactment of this section. Similar 
calculations will be made for employees who did not receive the full 
2007 annual adjustment for the period beginning February 18, 2007. 
Employees who received less than the full annual adjustment in both 
years will receive a lump sum payment that includes both the 2006 and 
the 2007 adjustments.
    Under subsection (f), the lump sum payments are deemed to 
be basic pay for 2006 and 2007, as appropriate, and hence are 
to be taken into account when calculating employees' high three 
years of salary for retirement purposes. The subsection makes 
clear that this consideration of the lump sum in the ``high 
three'' calculation shall not require any deduction from the 
amount due to employees for deposit into the retirement fund, 
nor shall GAO be required to make any additional contribution 
to the retirement fund.
    Subsection (g) of section 3 provides that the provisions 
constitute the sole and exclusive remedy for any covered 
officers and employees who claim that they were denied the full 
annual adjustment for 2006 and 2007. Claims unrelated to 
payment of the annual adjustment for 2006 and 2007 are not 
affected by subsection (g). This subsection also withdraws 
jurisdiction from the GAO Personnel Appeals Board, U.S. 
district courts, and other courts or administrative bodies from 
hearing past, pending, or future claims related to these 
payments. Congress intends that the amounts provided for 
payment pursuant to section three constitute full and complete 
satisfaction of any claim which an employee may assert for the 
2006 and 2007 annual adjustment.

Section 4: Lump-sum payment for certain performance-based compensation

    Section 4 addresses certain pay concerns that arose from 
GAO's implementation of the annual pay adjustment provision of 
the GAO Reform Act of 2004. For 2006, employees who were 
performing at a ``meets expectations'' level but did not 
receive the annual adjustment also were limited in the amount 
of performance based compensation (PBC) they could receive. 
This section seeks to provide a lump sum payment to those who 
were denied the annual adjustment and whose PBC in 2006 was 
limited for that reason.
    This provision applies to three groups of employees as 
follows:
    Band I staff with base pay that was at or over the 2006 
Band I pay cap. In 2006, those employees who were in the bottom 
80% of this group did not receive any PBC, either as permanent 
merit pay or nonpermanent merit pay, while those in the top 20% 
of performers received $1,000 in nonpermanent merit pay.
    Band IIA employees whose base pay was over the 2006 Band 
IIA pay cap fell into 2 categories. In 2006, those employees 
whose pay was less than the transition rate received 50% of 
their PBC as permanent merit pay, not to exceed the Band IIA 
transition cap ($118,700); the remainder of the PBC was lost. 
Employees whose pay was at the transition pay cap received 
$1,000 in nonpermanent merit pay if they were in the top 20% of 
performers with any remaining PBC lost; those employees who 
were in the bottom 80% did not receive any PBC, either as 
permanent or nonpermanent merit pay.
    Administrative Professional Support staff with base pay 
that was over their 2006 pay caps. In 2006, those employees in 
the bottom 80% did not receive any PBC, either as permanent or 
nonpermanent merit pay. Those in the top 20% of performers 
received $1,000 in nonpermanent merit pay.
    As with section 3, this section would apply only to those 
employees are employed on the effective date of the legislation 
(and who were employed in 2006 and 2007) and does not apply to 
Senior Executive Service or Senior Level employees, Federal 
Wage System employees, or employees in GAO's entry level 
development programs.
    Subsection 4(a) would require the GAO to provide the 
affected employees with a lump sum payment equal to the amount 
of nonpermanent merit pay that they were denied in 2006. 
Subsection 4(b) indicates that the payment shall be derived by 
calculating the amount of nonpermanent merit pay the employee 
would have earned under the PBC system in existence in 2006 if 
the employee had not had a salary equal to or in excess of the 
maximum for his or her band less any amounts the employee 
received either as permanent merit pay or nonpermanent merit 
pay.
    Under subsection (d), the employee's entitlement to the 
lump sum payment under section (4) represents the sole and 
exclusive remedy for individuals covered by the provision who 
claim they are owed PBC for 2006. As with section 3, no court 
or administrative body shall have jurisdiction relating to 
these claims. It is the intent of Congress that the amounts 
provided for payment pursuant to section four constitutes full 
and complete satisfaction of any claim which the employees may 
assert concerning the payment of these 2006 PBC amounts. Claims 
unrelated to payments of the 2006 PBC amounts are not affected 
by subsection (d).

Section 5: Inspector General

    This section establishes a statutory Inspector General (IG) 
for GAO, to be appointed by the CG and who, like other IGs, 
will operate under the general supervision of the agency head.
    This is consistent with practices at legislative branch 
agencies pursuant to various statutes and executive branch 
agencies pursuant to the Inspector General Act of 1978 (5 
U.S.C. App.).
    The roles and responsibilities of GAO's statutory IG are 
designed to promote economy and efficiency in programs and 
operations administered by GAO. The IG will have the authority, 
and is expected, to investigate and report on GAO's 
administration of its programs and operations. Like other IGs, 
the GAO IG is not expected to perform program responsibilities.
    The GAO IG is required to submit semiannual reports to the 
CG summarizing the activities of its office. The CG must 
transmit the IGs semiannual report to Congress within 30 days 
of receiving it.

Section 6: Administering oaths

    This section amends 31 U.S.C. Sec. 711 to allow the CG 
greater authority, subject to appropriate safeguards, to 
administer oaths to witnesses. Presently, section 711 
authorizes the CG to administer oaths when auditing and 
settling accounts. When GAO was established in 1921, auditing 
and settling accounts were its principal focus, but that is no 
longer the case. The CG has been called upon to perform many 
other audit, investigative, and adjudicative roles for the 
Congress. These roles periodically raise situations involving 
potential criminal or ethical violations or conflicting 
testimony or assertions concerning material and sensitive 
subjects. In such situations, the ability to administer oaths 
can be an important tool for the CG to accomplish his work for 
the Congress.

Section 7: Comptroller General reports

    This section amends 31 U.S.C. Sec. 719 by adding two new 
reporting requirements. The first is designed to provide 
critical information to the Congress regarding the overall 
cooperation of federal agencies in all aspects of the work of 
GAO. It does so by requiring that for all agencies subject to 
the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990 (31 U.S.C. 
Sec. Sec. 901-903), and other agencies designated by the CG, 
the CG will report to Congress annually regarding the overall 
degree of cooperation exhibited by the agencies or their staff 
in making personnel available for interviews, in providing 
written answers to questions, in submitting to an oath 
authorized by the CG, in granting access to records, in 
providing timely comments to draft reports, in adopting report 
recommendations, and in responding to such matters as the CG 
deems appropriate. Section 7 also requires that the CG report 
to Congress, as soon as practicable, when an agency or other 
entity does not make personnel available for interview, provide 
written answers to questions, or submit to an oath.
    These reporting requirements will enable the CG to keep 
Congress apprised of the general state of cooperation between 
GAO and other agencies and entities concerning the work of the 
office. While the CG will advise Congress as soon as 
practicable when GAO reasonably concludes that an agency or 
entity is not cooperating in an audit or investigation, it is 
anticipated that the annual report will provide greater insight 
into the ongoing relationships between GAO and the agencies it 
audits and investigates in a balanced and fair manner.

Section 8: Reimbursement of audit costs

    This section amends section 3521 of title 31, U.S.C., under 
which each covered executive branch agency is responsible for 
obtaining an audit of the financial statements it prepares 
under section 3515 of that title. Section 3521(e) assigns the 
responsibility for the performance of an agency's financial 
statement audit to each agency's inspector general, or, if 
there is no inspector general, to the head of the agency, who 
must engage an independent external auditor. The agency IG may 
conduct the audit or engage an independent external auditor to 
perform the audit. However, the CG may choose to audit an 
agency's financial statements in lieu of the agency IG or an 
agency-engaged independent external auditor. Since 1997, the CG 
has exercised his statutory discretion to audit the financial 
statements of the Internal Revenue Service and the Schedule of 
Federal Debt at the Department of the Treasury. The Department 
of the Treasury has received these audit services without 
reimbursing GAO.
    Section 8 requires the Department of Treasury, the Internal 
Revenue Service, or any other executive branch agency covered 
by the CFO Act for which GAO elects to audit financial 
statements or related schedules to reimburse GAO for the cost 
of performing such audits. Such payment will be consistent with 
the principle that agencies should pay for financial statement 
audit services. This principle has already been applied to 
financial statement audits conducted by GAO (under separate 
legal authority) of the Securities and Exchange Commission and 
the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, as well as other 
government corporations.
    The Securities and Exchange Commission shall reimburse GAO 
for financial statements under Public Law 108-83 for work 
performed up to October 1, 2009, and under this Act for audit 
work performed on or after October 1, 2009.

Section 9: Financial disclosure requirements

    This section amends section 109 of the Ethics in Government 
Act (5 U.S.C. App.) to remedy an anomaly created by GAO's new 
pay system, which has resulted in a large increase in the 
number of GAO employees who must file a public financial 
disclosure statement. Prior to implementation of the new pay 
system, any GAO employee whose basic pay minus the amount of 
locality pay was more than 120% of the basic rate for GS-15, 
step 1, had to file a statement. Under the new pay system, 
compensation differences in local markets are taken into 
account in setting the pay ranges for GAO's various locations 
but are not broken out separately. Therefore, many employees, 
without the deduction for locality pay, have a basic rate of 
pay that requires filing a financial disclosure statement. This 
section remedies this unexpected consequence by deducting the 
amount of the General Schedule locality pay from the basic pay 
that a GAO employee would have received had the new pay system 
not been implemented.

Section 10: Highest basic pay rate

    This section allows the CG to pay employees above the GS-15 
pay cap, up to the rate for Executive Level III. This provision 
is designed to allow GAO to more appropriately compensate 
skilled professionals and managers, thus aiding GAO in 
recruitment and retention. While the provision sets the highest 
rate at Executive Level III, this maximum will be used only for 
hard to fill positions.

Section 11: Additional authorities

    Section 11 amends section 731 of title 31, U.S.C. to make 
changes in GAO's authority to appoint certain experts and 
consultants or fix the basic rate of certain officials, 
deleting two provisions that have never been used, and slightly 
increasing (from 15 to 20) the number of senior-level experts 
and consultants that can be appointed for 3-year renewable 
terms.
    This section also authorizes the CG to make expenditures 
for meals and other expenses in connection with recruitment. 
The nature of GAO's work requires skilled professionals for 
whom GAO must compete with top private sector firms. Permitting 
the CG to make expenditures for meals and other related meal 
expenses while recruiting officers and employees will help GAO 
attract top talent.
    Section 11(b) adds a new section 721 to title 31 to ensure 
that provisions contained in the Social Security Act and the 
Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act are not construed to limit 
GAO's rights of access to agency information. The new section 
721(a) is intended in part to correct an erroneous 
interpretation by the Department of Health and Human Services 
of provisions of the Social Security Act pertaining to the 
Medicare prescription drug benefit (Part D). Under its 
interpretation, the Department has refused to disclose certain 
information related to Medicare Part D to GAO. The new section 
721(a) provision confirms GAO's right to obtain information 
from the Department and ensures that GAO is able to conduct 
congressionally requested and statutorily required audits, 
including audits of Parts C and D of the Medicare program. The 
Committee is aware that there are efforts by the Ways and Means 
Committee to pass similar corrective legislation to clarify the 
rights that other congressional support agencies, like the 
Congressional Research Service, have to this information. The 
Committee fully supports these efforts, but could not include 
those provisions in this bill because it does not have 
jurisdiction over legislative branch agencies other than GAO.
    In addition, the Food and Drug Administration, citing a 
provision of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, has 
taken the position that it will only disclose trade secrets 
information to GAO for studies conducted at the request of a 
chair of a committee or subcommittee of jurisdiction, and only 
when the requests for the studies specifically refer to GAO's 
need for such information. The new section 721(b) is designed 
to remove any doubt as to GAO's authority to obtain trade 
secrets information from the Food and Drug Administration.
    While GAO has had a longstanding right of access to agency 
records, its audit, evaluation, and investigation efforts have 
occasionally been frustrated by a lack of willingness on the 
part of agency officials and employees to discuss the 
information contained in those records, as well as background 
information relevant to programs under review. In addition, 
many agency activities are not documented for subsequent audit, 
and cooperation from these individuals provides the only viable 
means for GAO to obtain critical information about these 
activities. Accordingly, this section also clarifies GAO's 
existing access authority by providing an express right to 
interview agency officers and employees under section 716(a) of 
Title 31.

Section 12: Basic pay for retirement

    This section provides that in determining the basic pay of 
a GAO employee for purposes of retirement, the calculation 
shall include any nonpermanent merit increases awarded under 
GAO's pay for performance system up to the statutory maximum.

                       Explanation of Amendments

    During the business meeting, Rep. Waxman offered an 
amendment in the nature of a substitute which passed by voice 
vote. The amendment made technical changes to the bill and 
added provisions which guaranteed GAO access to certain 
information. The section-by-section analysis reflects the 
provisions of this amendment.

                        Committee Consideration

    On Thursday, May 1, 2008, the Committee met in open session 
and favorably ordered H.R. 5683 to be reported to the House by 
a voice vote.

                            Roll Call Votes

    No roll call votes were held.

              Application of Law to the Legislative Branch

    Section 102(b)(3) of Public Law 104-1 requires a 
description of the application of this bill to the legislative 
branch where the bill relates to terms and conditions of 
employment or access to public services and accommodations. 
H.R. 5683 contains provisions which relate to the terms and 
conditions of employment at the legislative branch agency GAO, 
specifically with regard to salary and bonuses. The details of 
these provisions are described in the section-by-section 
analysis of this report.

  Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the Committee

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII and clause 
(2)(b)(1) of rule X of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives, the Committee's oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the descriptive portions of 
this report, including the need to address pay matters and the 
operation and management of GAO.

         Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives

    In accordance with clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee's performance 
goals and objectives are reflected in the descriptive portions 
of this report, including increasing the efficiency and 
effectiveness of GAO.

                   Constitutional Authority Statement

    Under clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House 
of Representatives, the Committee must include a statement 
citing the specific powers granted to Congress to enact the law 
proposed by H.R. 5683. Article I, Section 8, Clause 18 of the 
Constitution of the United States grants the Congress the power 
to enact this law.

                     Federal Advisory Committee Act

    The Committee finds that the legislation does not establish 
or authorize the establishment of an advisory committee within 
the definition of 5 U.S.C. App., Section 5(b).

                      Unfunded Mandates Statement

    Section 423 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment 
Control Act (as amended by Section 101(a)(2) of the Unfunded 
Mandates Reform Act, P.L. 104-4) requires a statement on 
whether the provisions of the report include unfunded mandates. 
In compliance with this requirement the Committee has received 
a letter from the Congressional Budget Office included herein.

                         Earmark Identification

    H.R. 5683 does not include any congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined in 
clause 9(d), 9(e), or 9(f) of rule XXI.

                           Committee Estimate

    Clause 3(d)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires an estimate and a comparison by the 
Committee of the costs that would be incurred in carrying out 
H.R. 5683. However, clause 3(d)(3)(B) of that rule provides 
that this requirement does not apply when the Committee has 
included in its report a timely submitted cost estimate of the 
bill prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act.

     Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section 
308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 and with respect 
to requirements of clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives and section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee has received 
the following cost estimate for H.R. 5683 from the Director of 
the Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                      Washington, DC, May 15, 2008.
Hon. Henry A. Waxman,
Chairman, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 5683, the 
Government Accountability Office Act of 2008.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Barry Blom.
            Sincerely,
                                           Peter R. Orszag.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 5683--Government Accountability Office Act of 2008

    Summary: H.R. 5683 would require the Government 
Accountability Office (GAO) to change certain pay practices 
and, subject to the availability of appropriations, compensate 
employees for certain past practices. It also would increase 
the cap on employees' pay. Assuming appropriation of the 
necessary amounts, CBO estimates that implementing those 
provisions would cost about $11 million over the 2009-2013 
period.
    The bill also would expand the types of pay that are 
included in retirement benefit calculations, which would 
increase direct spending by less than $500,000 over the 2009-
2018 period. The bill would have an insignificant effect on 
revenues. Implementing other provisions of H.R. 5683 would have 
no significant effect on the agency's budget.
    H.R. 5683 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) 
and would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    Estimated cost to the federal government: The estimated 
budgetary impact of H.R. 5683 is shown in the following table. 
The costs of this legislation fall within budget functions 600 
(income security) and 800 (general government).

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                      By fiscal year, in millions of
                                                 dollars--
                                 ---------------------------------------
                                   2009    2010    2011    2012    2013
------------------------------------------------------------------------
              CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION

Estimated Authorization Level          3       2       2       2       2
Estimated Outlays                      3       2       2       2      2
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note.--Enacting the bill also would increase direct spending by less
  than $500,000 over the 2009-2018 period.

    Basis of estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes that H.R. 
5683 will be enacted at the beginning of fiscal year 2009 and 
that the necessary amounts will be appropriated for each year. 
CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 5683 would increase salary 
payments to some GAO employees, assuming availability of 
appropriated funds. It also would increase retirement costs.
    Section 3 would require GAO to pay, subject to the 
availability of appropriations, a lump-sum reimbursement to 
about 300 employees who received less than the annual pay 
increase given to others in 2006 (2.6 percent) and 2007 (2.4 
percent). Based on information provided by GAO and assuming the 
availability of appropriated funds, CBO estimates that making 
the lump-sum payments would cost the agency about $1.7 million 
in 2009. Because those payments would cause the affected 
employees' base pay to rise, future salaries would also 
increase, by an estimated $3 million over the 2009-2013 period.
    Section 4 would provide a lump-sum payment to individuals 
who did not receive their full performance-based compensation 
as a result of having a salary equal to or greater than the 
maximum for their pay band. Based on information from GAO, CBO 
estimates that this provision would boost discretionary 
spending in 2009 by about $200,000.
    The bill also would make other changes including: 
increasing the highest basic rate of pay under the pay 
schedule, limiting the total amount of cash compensation 
(salaries, bonuses, and other payments) that an employee can 
receive in any year, and guaranteeing a minimum rate of 
increase in the annual pay of most employees. Based on 
information from GAO, CBO estimates that those provisions would 
cost about $6 million over the five-year period, assuming 
appropriation of the estimated amounts.
    Section 12 would direct that the nonpermanent portion of a 
performance-based pay increase be included in the employee's 
basic pay for purposes of calculating retirement benefits. CBO 
estimates that the resulting change in retirement benefits 
would increase direct spending by less than $500,000 over the 
2009-2018 period.
    Other provisions of this bill would have no effect on the 
federal budget.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: H.R. 5683 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA and would impose no costs on state, local, or 
tribal governments.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal Costs: Barry Blom, Taylor 
Tarver, and Deborah Reis, Impact on State, Local, and Tribal 
Governments: Elizabeth Cove, Impact on Private Sector: Paige 
Piper/Bach
    Estimate approved by: Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italic, existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

TITLE 31, UNITED STATES CODE

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Subtitle I--GENERAL

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


              CHAPTER 7--GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE

           SUBCHAPTER I--DEFINITIONS AND GENERAL ORGANIZATION

Sec.
701.  Definitions.
     * * * * * * *
705.  Inspector General for the Government Accountability Office.
     * * * * * * *

                SUBCHAPTER II--GENERAL DUTIES AND POWERS

711.  General authority.
     * * * * * * *
721. Access to certain information.

SUBCHAPTER I--DEFINITIONS AND GENERAL ORGANIZATION

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 705. Inspector General for the Government Accountability Office

  (a) Establishment of Office.--There is established an Office 
of the Inspector General in the Government Accountability 
Office, to--
          (1) conduct and supervise audits consistent with 
        generally accepted government auditing standards and 
        investigations relating to the Government 
        Accountability Office;
          (2) provide leadership and coordination and recommend 
        policies to promote economy, efficiency, and 
        effectiveness in the Government Accountability Office; 
        and
          (3) keep the Comptroller General and Congress fully 
        and currently informed concerning fraud and other 
        serious problems, abuses, and deficiencies relating to 
        the administration of programs and operations of the 
        Government Accountability Office.
  (b) Appointment, Supervision, and Removal.--
          (1) The Office of the Inspector General shall be 
        headed by an Inspector General, who shall be appointed 
        by the Comptroller General without regard to political 
        affiliation and solely on the basis of integrity and 
        demonstrated ability in accounting, auditing, financial 
        analysis, law, management analysis, public 
        administration, or investigations. The Inspector 
        General shall report to, and be under the general 
        supervision of, the Comptroller General.
          (2) The Inspector General may be removed from office 
        by the Comptroller General. The Comptroller General 
        shall, promptly upon such removal, communicate in 
        writing the reasons for any such removal to each House 
        of Congress.
  (c) Authority of Inspector General.--In addition to the 
authority otherwise provided by this section, the Inspector 
General, in carrying out the provisions of this section, may--
          (1) have access to all records, reports, audits, 
        reviews, documents, papers, recommendations, or other 
        material that relate to programs and operations of the 
        Government Accountability Office;
          (2) make such investigations and reports relating to 
        the administration of the programs and operations of 
        the Government Accountability Office as are, in the 
        judgment of the Inspector General, necessary or 
        desirable;
          (3) request such documents and information as may be 
        necessary for carrying out the duties and 
        responsibilities provided by this section from any 
        Federal agency;
          (4) in the performance of the functions assigned by 
        this section, obtain all information, documents, 
        reports, answers, records, accounts, papers, and other 
        data and documentary evidence from a person not in the 
        United States Government or from a Federal agency, to 
        the same extent and in the same manner as the 
        Comptroller General under the authority and procedures 
        available to the Comptroller General in section 716 of 
        this title;
          (5) administer to or take from any person an oath, 
        affirmation, or affidavit, whenever necessary in the 
        performance of the functions assigned by this section, 
        which oath, affirmation, or affidavit when administered 
        or taken by or before an employee of the Office of 
        Inspector General designated by the Inspector General 
        shall have the same force and effect as if administered 
        or taken by or before an officer having a seal;
          (6) have direct and prompt access to the Comptroller 
        General when necessary for any purpose pertaining to 
        the performance of functions and responsibilities under 
        this section;
          (7) report expeditiously to the Attorney General 
        whenever the Inspector General has reasonable grounds 
        to believe there has been a violation of Federal 
        criminal law; and
          (8) provide copies of all reports to the Audit 
        Advisory Committee of the Government Accountability 
        Office and provide such additional information in 
        connection with such reports as is requested by the 
        Committee.
  (d) Complaints by Employees.--
          (1) The Inspector General--
                  (A) subject to subparagraph (B), may receive, 
                review, and investigate, as the Inspector 
                General considers appropriate, complaints or 
                information from an employee of the Government 
                Accountability Office concerning the possible 
                existence of an activity constituting a 
                violation of any law, rule, or regulation, 
                mismanagement, or a gross waste of funds; and
                  (B) shall refer complaints or information 
                concerning violations of personnel law, rules, 
                or regulations to established investigative and 
                adjudicative entities of the Government 
                Accountability Office.
          (2) The Inspector General shall not, after receipt of 
        a complaint or information from an employee, disclose 
        the identity of the employee without the consent of the 
        employee, unless the Inspector General determines such 
        disclosure is unavoidable during the course of the 
        investigation.
          (3) Any employee who has authority to take, direct 
        others to take, recommend, or approve any personnel 
        action, shall not, with respect to such authority, take 
        or threaten to take any action against any employee as 
        a reprisal for making a complaint or disclosing 
        information to the Inspector General, unless the 
        complaint was made or the information disclosed with 
        the knowledge that it was false or with willful 
        disregard for its truth or falsity.
  (e) Semiannual Reports.--(1) The Inspector General shall 
submit semiannual reports summarizing the activities of the 
Office of the Inspector General to the Comptroller General. 
Such reports shall include, but need not be limited to--
          (A) a summary of each significant report made during 
        the reporting period, including a description of 
        significant problems, abuses, and deficiencies 
        disclosed by such report;
          (B) a description of the recommendations for 
        corrective action made with respect to significant 
        problems, abuses, or deficiencies described pursuant to 
        subparagraph (A);
          (C) a summary of the progress made in implementing 
        such corrective action described pursuant to 
        subparagraph (B); and
          (D) information concerning any disagreement the 
        Comptroller General has with a recommendation of the 
        Inspector General.
  (2) The Comptroller General shall transmit the semiannual 
reports of the Inspector General, together with any comments 
the Comptroller General considers appropriate, to Congress 
within 30 days after receipt of such reports.
  (f) Independence in Carrying Out Duties and 
Responsibilities.--The Comptroller General may not prevent or 
prohibit the Inspector General from carrying out any of the 
duties or responsibilities of the Inspector General under this 
section.
  (g) Authority for Staff.--
          (1) In general.--The Inspector General shall select, 
        appoint, and employ such personnel as may be necessary 
        to carry out this section consistent with the 
        provisions of this title governing selections, 
        appointments, and employment in the Government 
        Accountability Office. Such personnel shall be 
        appointed, promoted, and assigned only on the basis of 
        merit and fitness, but without regard to those 
        provisions of title 5 governing appointments and other 
        personnel actions in the competitive service, except 
        that no personnel of the Office may be paid at an 
        annual rate greater than $1,000 less than the annual 
        rate of pay of the Inspector General.
          (2) Experts and consultants.--The Inspector General 
        may procure temporary and intermittent services under 
        section 3109 of title 5 at rates not to exceed the 
        daily equivalent of the annual rate of basic pay for 
        level V of the Executive Schedule under section 5315 of 
        such title.
          (3) Independence in appointing staff.--No individual 
        may carry out any of the duties or responsibilities of 
        the Office of the Inspector General unless the 
        individual is appointed by the Inspector General, or 
        provides services obtained by the Inspector General, 
        pursuant to this paragraph.
          (4) Limitation on program responsibilities.--The 
        Inspector General and any individual carrying out any 
        of the duties or responsibilities of the Office of the 
        Inspector General are prohibited from performing any 
        program responsibilities.
  (h) Office Space.--The Comptroller General shall provide the 
Office of the Inspector General--
          (1) appropriate and adequate office space;
          (2) such equipment, office supplies, and 
        communications facilities and services as may be 
        necessary for the operation of the Office of the 
        Inspector General; and
          (3) necessary maintenance services for such office 
        space, equipment, office supplies, and communications 
        facilities; and
          (4) equipment and facilities located in such office 
        space.
  (i) Definition.--As used in this section, the term ``Federal 
agency'' means a department, agency, instrumentality, or unit 
thereof, of the Federal Government.

                SUBCHAPTER II--GENERAL DUTIES AND POWERS

Sec. 711. General authority

  The Comptroller General may--
          (1) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

          [(4) administer oaths to witnesses when auditing and 
        settling accounts.]
          (4) administer oaths to witnesses, except that, in 
        matters other than auditing and settling accounts, the 
        authority of an officer or employee to administer oaths 
        to witnesses pursuant to a delegation under paragraph 
        (2) shall not be available without the prior express 
        approval of the Comptroller General (or a designee).

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 716. Availability of information and inspection of records

  (a) Each agency shall give the Comptroller General 
information the Comptroller General requires about the duties, 
powers, activities, organization, and financial transactions of 
the agency. The Comptroller General may inspect an agency 
record and interview agency officers and employees to get the 
information. This subsection does not apply to expenditures 
made under section 3524 or 3526(e) of this title.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 719. Comptroller General reports

  (a) * * *
  (b)(1) The Comptroller General shall include in the report to 
Congress under subsection (a) of this section--
          (A) * * *
          (B) information on carrying out duties and powers of 
        the Comptroller General under clauses (A) and (C) of 
        this paragraph, subsections (g) and (h) of this 
        section, and sections 717, 731(e)(2), 734, 1112, and 
        1113 of this title; [and]
          (C) the name of each officer and employee of the 
        Government Accountability Office assigned or detailed 
        to a committee of Congress, the committee to which the 
        officer or employee is assigned or detailed, the length 
        of the period of assignment or detail, a statement on 
        whether the assignment or detail is finished or 
        continuing, and compensation paid out of appropriations 
        available to the Comptroller General for the period of 
        the assignment or detail that has been completed[.]; 
        and
          (D) for agencies subject to sections 901-903 and 
        other agencies designated by the Comptroller General, 
        an assessment of their overall degree of cooperation in 
        making personnel available for interview, providing 
        written answers to questions, submitting to an oath 
        authorized by the Comptroller General under section 
        711, granting access to records, providing timely 
        comments to draft reports, adopting recommendations in 
        reports and responding to such other matters as the 
        Comptroller General deems appropriate in carrying out 
        his duties under authority of sections 711-720 or any 
        other provisions of law.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (c) The Comptroller General shall report to Congress--
          (1) * * *
          (2) on the adequacy and effectiveness of--
                  (A) * * *
                  (B) inspections by an agency of offices and 
                accounts of fiscal officials; [and]
          (3) as frequently as practicable on audits carried 
        out under sections 713 and 714 of this title[.]; and
          (4) as soon as practicable when an agency does not, 
        within a reasonable time of a request by the 
        Comptroller General, make personnel available for 
        interview, provide written answers to questions, grant 
        access to records, or submit to an oath authorized by 
        the Comptroller General under sections 711-720 or any 
        other provisions of law.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 721. Access to certain information

  (a) No provision of the Social Security Act shall be 
construed to limit, amend, or supersede the authority of the 
Comptroller General to obtain any information, to inspect any 
record, or to interview any officer, employee, or contractor 
under section 716 of this title, including with respect to any 
information disclosed to or obtained by the Secretary of Health 
and Human Services under part C or D of title XVIII of the 
Social Security Act.
  (b) No provision of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act 
shall be construed to limit, amend, or supersede the authority 
of the Comptroller General to obtain any information, to 
inspect any record, or to interview any officer, employee, or 
contractor under section 716 of this title, including with 
respect to any information concerning any method or process 
which as a trade secret is entitled to protection.

                       SUBCHAPTER III--PERSONNEL

Sec. 731. General

  (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  [(d) When a change in organization, management 
responsibility, or workload makes it necessary, the Comptroller 
General may fix the rate of basic pay of 5 positions at rates 
not more than the rate for level IV of the Executive Schedule.]
  (e) The Comptroller General may procure the services of 
experts and consultants under section 3109 of title 5 at rates 
not in excess of the [maximum daily rate for GS-18 under 
section 5332 of such title] daily rate for level IV of the 
Executive Schedule, except that the services of not [more 
than--] more than 20 experts and consultants may be procured 
for terms of not more than 3 years, but which shall be 
renewable.
          (1) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (j) Funds appropriated to the Government Accountability 
Office for salaries and expenses are available for meals and 
other related reasonable expenses incurred in connection with 
recruitment.

Sec. 732. Personnel management system

  (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (c) Under the personnel management system--
          (1) * * *
          (2) except as provided in clause (4) of this 
        subsection and section 733(a)(3)(A) of this title, the 
        highest basic pay rate under the pay schedule may not 
        be more than the [highest basic rate for GS-15;] rate 
        for level III of the Executive Level, except that the 
        total amount of cash compensation in any year shall be 
        subject to the limitations provided under section 
        5307(a)(1) of title 5;

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (j)(1) For purposes of this subsection--
          (A) the term ``pay increase'', as used with respect 
        to an officer or employee in connection with a year, 
        means the total increase in the rate of basic pay 
        (expressed as a percentage) of such officer or 
        employee, taking effect under section 731(b) and 
        subsection (c)(3) in such year;
          (B) the term ``required minimum percentage'', as used 
        with respect to an officer or employee in connection 
        with a year, means the percentage equal to the total 
        increase in rates of basic pay (expressed as a 
        percentage) taking effect under sections 5303 and 5304-
        5304a of title 5 in such year with respect to General 
        Schedule positions within the pay locality (as defined 
        by section 5302(5) of title 5) in which the position of 
        such officer or employee is located;
          (C) the term ``covered officer or employee'', as used 
        with respect to a pay increase, means any individual--
                  (i) who is an officer or employee of the 
                Government Accountability Office, other than an 
                officer or employee described in subparagraph 
                (A), (B), or (C) of section 4(c)(1) of the 
                Government Accountability Office Act of 2008, 
                determined as of the effective date of such pay 
                increase; and
                  (ii) whose performance is at least at a 
                satisfactory level, as determined by the 
                Comptroller General under the provisions of 
                subsection (c)(3) for purposes of the 
                adjustment taking effect under such provisions 
                in such year; and
          (D) the term ``nonpermanent merit pay'' means any 
        amount payable under section 731(b) which does not 
        constitute basic pay.
  (2)(A) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, 
if (disregarding this subsection) the pay increase that would 
otherwise take effect with respect to a covered officer or 
employee in a year would be less than the required minimum 
percentage for such officer or employee in such year, the 
Comptroller General shall provide for a further increase in the 
rate of basic pay of such officer or employee.
  (B) The further increase under this subsection--
          (i) shall be equal to the amount necessary to make up 
        for the shortfall described in subparagraph (A); and
          (ii) shall take effect as of the same date as the pay 
        increase otherwise taking effect in such year.
  (C) Nothing in this paragraph shall be considered to permit 
or require that a rate of basic pay be increased to an amount 
inconsistent with the limitation set forth in subsection 
(c)(2).
  (D) If (disregarding this subsection) the covered officer or 
employee would also have received any nonpermanent merit pay in 
such year, such nonpermanent merit pay shall be decreased by an 
amount equal to the portion of such officer's or employee's 
basic pay for such year which is attributable to the further 
increase described in subparagraph (A) (as determined by the 
Comptroller General), but to not less than zero.
  (3) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the 
effective date of any pay increase (within the meaning of 
paragraph (1)(A)) taking effect with respect to a covered 
officer or employee in any year shall be the same as the 
effective date of any adjustment taking effect under section 
5303 of title 5 with respect to statutory pay systems (as 
defined by section 5302(1) of title 5) in such year.

Sec. 732a. Critical positions

  (a) * * *
  (b) Senior-level positions under this section may include 
positions referred to in [section 731(d), (e)(1), or (e)(2)] 
paragraph (1) or (2) of section 731(e) of this title.

Sec. 733. Senior Executive Service

  (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (c) The Office Senior Executive Service may include positions 
referred to in section 731(c), [(d),] (e)(1), or (e)(2) of this 
title.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 735. Relationship to other laws

  (a) Except as provided in section 733(c) of this title, this 
subchapter and subchapter IV of this chapter do not affect 
sections 702(b), 703, [731(c)-(e),] 731(c) and (e), 772, 775(a) 
and (d) of this title.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Subtitle III--FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER 35--ACCOUNTING AND COLLECTION

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


             SUBCHAPTER III--AUDITING AND SETTLING ACCOUNTS

Sec. 3521. Audits by agencies

  (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (i)(1) Any executive agency or component thereof that 
prepares an audited financial statement under section 3515 
shall reimburse the Government Accountability Office the cost 
of any audit of the financial statements (or any part thereof) 
and related schedules of such agency or component performed by 
the Comptroller General.
  (2) Reimbursements required by paragraph (1) shall be 
credited to the appropriation account ``Salaries and Expenses, 
Government Accountability Office'' current when the 
reimbursement is received and shall remain available until 
expended.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

                              ----------                              


                       ACT OF SEPTEMBER 30, 2003

                          (Public Law 108-83)

AN ACT Making appropriations for the Legislative Branch for the fiscal 
year ending September 30, 2004, and for other purposes.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


TITLE I--LEGISLATIVE BRANCH APPROPRIATIONS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                        ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISION

[SEC. 1401. PAYMENT FOR AUDITS.

  [(a) In General.--At any time during fiscal year 2004 or 
thereafter, the Comptroller General may accept payment from the 
Securities and Exchange Commission for the performance of any 
audit of the financial statements of the Commission which is 
conducted by the Comptroller General.
  [(b) Credit to Account.--Any payment accepted under the 
authority of subsection (a) shall be credited to the account 
established for salaries and expenses of the General Accounting 
Office, and shall be available for obligation and expenditure 
upon receipt.]

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

                              ----------                              


ETHICS IN GOVERNMENT ACT OF 1978

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


TITLE I--FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS OF FEDERAL PERSONNEL

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                              DEFINITIONS

  Sec. 109. For the purposes of this title, the term--
          (1) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

          (13) ``officer or employee of the Congress'' means--
                  (A) * * *
                  (B)(i) each officer or employee of the 
                legislative branch (except any officer or 
                employee of the Government Accountability 
                Office) who, for at least 60 days, occupies a 
                position for which the rate of basic pay is 
                equal to or greater than 120 percent of the 
                minimum rate of basic pay payable for GS-15 of 
                the General Schedule; [and]
                  (ii) each officer or employee of the 
                Government Accountability Office who, for at 
                least 60 consecutive days, occupies a position 
                for which the rate of basic pay, minus the 
                amount of locality pay that would have been 
                authorized under section 5304 of title 5, 
                United States Code (had the officer or employee 
                been paid under the General Schedule) for the 
                locality within which the position of such 
                officer or employee is located (as determined 
                by the Comptroller General), is equal to or 
                greater than 120 percent of the minimum rate of 
                basic pay payable for GS-15 of the General 
                Schedule; and
                  [(ii)] (iii) at least one principal assistant 
                designated for purposes of this paragraph by 
                each Member who does not have an employee who 
                occupies a position for which the rate of basic 
                pay is equal to or greater than 120 percent of 
                the minimum rate of basic pay payable for GS-15 
                of the General Schedule;

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

                              ----------                              


TITLE 5, UNITED STATES CODE

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


PART III--EMPLOYEES

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Subpart G--Insurance and Annuities

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER 83--RETIREMENT

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                SUBCHAPTER III--CIVIL SERVICE RETIREMENT

Sec. 8331. Definitions

  For the purpose of this subchapter--
          (1) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

          (3) ``basic pay'' includes--
                  (A) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

                  (G) with respect to a customs officer 
                (referred to in subsection (e)(1) of section 5 
                of the Act of February 13, 1911), compensation 
                for overtime inspectional services provided for 
                under subsection (a) of such section 5, but not 
                to exceed 50 percent of any statutory maximum 
                in overtime pay for customs officers which is 
                in effect for the year involved; [and]
                  (H) any amount received under section 5948 
                (relating to physicians comparability 
                allowances); and
                  (I) the nonpermanent amount of a performance-
                based pay increase received by an employee of 
                the Government Accountability Office, to the 
                extent that such increase does not cause the 
                basic pay of such employee to exceed the 
                limitation specified in section 732(c)(2) of 
                title 31;
        but does not include bonuses, allowances, overtime pay, 
        military pay, pay given in addition to the base pay of 
        the position as fixed by law or regulation except as 
        provided by subparagraphs [(B) through (H)] (B) through 
        (I) of this paragraph retroactive pay under section 
        5344 of this title in the case of a retired or deceased 
        employee, uniform allowances under section 5901 of this 
        title, or lump-sum leave payments under subchapter VI 
        of chapter 55 of this title. For an employee paid on a 
        fee basis, the maximum amount of basic pay which may be 
        used is $10,000;

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


              ADDITIONAL VIEWS OF RANKING MEMBER TOM DAVIS

    Last July, the Government Accountability Office submitted 
to Congress a legislative proposal to make a number of changes 
to GAO's authorizing statutes--changes which were largely 
uncontroversial. And, I'm pleased to say we were able to come 
to agreement on some other very important reforms included in 
this legislation.
    For example, I appreciate Chairman Waxman's willingness to 
include in the legislation an increase in the pay cap for GAO 
employees from GS-15, step 10 to Executive Schedule III. This 
change should help to address many the pay compression issues 
facing the GAO workforce and better enable GAO to recruit and 
retain top talent.
    Also, I appreciate the Chairman's willingness to 
accommodate my request to include language allowing GAO 
employees under GAO's performance-based compensation system to 
include bonuses in their base pay for purposes of calculating 
their ``high-three'' salary. As the federal government 
continues to reform its outdated personnel system--relying more 
heavily on annual performance bonuses--it is important these 
performance bonuses are taken into consideration for purposes 
of calculating annuities.
    This legislation also attempts to resolve a longstanding 
pay dispute between GAO and some of its employees. Hopefully, 
this bill will allow stakeholders to put the dispute to rest 
and move forward.
    However, I am disappointed the bill includes a number of 
additional proposals which, to me, are controversial and 
potentially call into question my support for the bill.
    Fortunately, the Chairman agreed to remove one of the more 
problematic provisions from the bill. The new provision--which 
was not discussed or debated at all by this Committee--would 
have given GAO new authority to interview ``contractors.'' The 
term ``contractors'' is ambiguous at best and could be 
interpreted in any number of troubling ways. What's more--
current law already gives GAO access to contractor records. To 
my knowledge, no case has been made for the need to enhance 
GAO's ability to force private citizens to be ``interviewed'' 
by government investigators. I appreciate the Chairman's 
willingness to remove this provision from the legislation.
    But other troubling new provisions remain in the 
legislation.
    For example, the legislation includes language giving GAO 
specific access to Medicare Part D data held by the Department 
of Health and Human Services as well as trade secrets data held 
by the Food and Drug Administration: GAO requested neither of 
these authorities in its proposal last summer, both of which 
are aimed at issues of particular interest to the current 
majority. Congress has access to that information now and we 
are free to share it with GAO.
    Further, this bill includes language to expand GAO's 
authority to interview agency employees and administer oaths to 
witnesses in conjunction with investigations. By increasing 
GAO's investigative powers, I am concerned we will trigger a 
chilling effect on GAO's relationship with federal agencies--
resulting in agencies being less forthcoming in providing 
information and diminishing GAO's role in improving government 
operations and promoting best practices in the federal 
government.
    I hope we can work together on these issues as we have on 
others as the bill moves forward.

                                                         Tom Davis.